I love Searchlight.  Back in my gambling days, it was a little Mojave oasis of air-conditioning and old-time slotmachines. My buddy Everett and I loved combining the raw grit of desert camping with the raw glitz of Laughlin and Vegas. Searchlight lay almost halfway between the two towns. We both drove non-air-conditioned trucks then so we'd be goofy with heat by the time we stopped for coffee, cold air and a chillier shot at a jackpot.

Yesterday a horde of people descended on the desert near Searchlight.  I'd love to know the thoughts of the lizards and rattlers they displaced - and I hope some of those rattlers were Mojave Greens, which have the deadliest bite of their species.  I won't name the sub-species that drove into that desert to listen to a woman give most of the rest of us What For!, because I recently went on Facebook and this blog.  I'm in more contact with electronic media than I've been and I notice the more times I read a word like T-- P---y, the more it gets stuck in my mind.  I'd rather write a lacuna - a space that indicates where the pesky word (and quasi-political movement) might cease to exist.

The quasi-political movement (henceforth known as          ) chose Searchlight for its gathering because Searchlight is the birthplace of Nevada senator, Harry Reid and Harry Reid had voted for the new health care reform bill.  In fact, according to Harry's website, "Searchlight is where Harry Reid watched his father work as a hardrock miner. It’s where he attended a school with one teacher for eight grades. And it’s where he learned Nevada values like hard work, opportunity and independence."  Sure sounds like one of those left-leaning, latte-swilling Liberals who are taking this country to Socialist hell.

Harry is not a Liberal.  He and I could probably have a conversation that would leave both of us red-faced and on the verge of a stroke.  Nonetheless, Harry Reid is now part of my pantheon of spiritual masters on earth.  If he doesn't have a black belt in aikodo, he should.  Aikido, according to another of my spiritual masters, Wikipedia is:  "is performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on."  Kind of like a wily cat - they'd rather nap than fight.

I write columns for truthout, a progressive (yikes!, here we go down that slippery slope to socialist hell again) on-line newspaper.  This morning, they published a new piece, Rabbits and Red Butte, which focuses on disregard for Native American spiritual rights and practices.  A guy wrote the first comment - I'll spare you by not quoting it.  He referred to the president as---oh, never mind.  You already know it was racist.  I was pissed.  I contacted my editor to see if the comment could be removed. Then I thought of Harry Reid's response to the          .  I rescinded my censorship of the right-wing wing-nut and responded to him.  I reminded him of the Heyoka, the contrary teachers of some Native American nations. The Heyoka teach by behaving contrary to what is appropriate and sensible.  I invited the wing-nut to come back anytime and told him I'd be happy to use him to teach.

Thank you, Master Harry Reid.  Thank you for teaching me the elegance and efficacy of Aikido.  Thank you for issuing a press release in response to the          , in which you said:  "Searchlight doesn't get many tourists so I'm glad they are choosing to bring all their out-of-state money to my hometown. The influx of money will do the town some good. I encourage everyone to drop by the Nugget to say hello to Verlie and grab a 10 cent cup of coffee."

Made me wish I still gambled, made me wish I still drove my old truck.  I'd love to drop by the Nugget to say hello to Verlie and grab that 10 cent cup of coffee.  But, I don't gamble and the truck is gone and the coffee would have to be de-caf, so the best I can do is imagine the grin on Harry Reid's face when he issued that press release---kinda like the Cheshire Cat's.    


About the Author

Mary Sojourner

Mary Sojourner, M.A., is the author of She Bets Her Life: A True Story of Gambling Addiction (Seal Press/ April 2010) and Going Through Ghosts (U.Nevada Press, 2010).

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